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ITEC Resources

This guide was created to help ITEC students learn about library resources.

Search Tips

Identify Keywords

Take a minute to think about your topic and break it down to its most basic concepts.

Topic: What are some ethical concerns about using biometric authentication methods?

Keywords: ethics, biometrics, authentication, technology

Identify Similar Terms

Identify any related terms. Consult a thesaurus to find synonyms.

Ethics: ethical, morals, morality

Biometrics: body measurements, fingerprints, retinal scans, facial recognition, behaviometrics

Authentication: identity management, identification

The Initial Search

Use the keywords and similar terms you identified to perform an initial search. How many results do you get?

Too many results? Use the boolean operator AND to limit your search to results with all keywords.

ethics AND biometrics

Too few results? Use the boolean operator OR to expand your search with additional keywords.

biometrics OR behaviometrics

Use different combinations of search terms and evaluate your results each time. How do the results change?

Filter Your Results

After performing a search, look for a tool that lets you "refine" or "filter" your results. Try filtering by:

  • Date Range: Select a date range to narrow down the results to a relevant period of time.
  • Peer Reviewed: Use this filter if your professor specifies you must use scholarly or peer reviewed sources.
  • Full Text: Sometimes library databases index information even if they do not provide access to the full text of the article. Use this filter to show only results with full text availability.

Advanced Search Tips

Tip 1: Combine the boolean operators AND and OR for a very specific search query. You can also use NOT to exclude terms.

ethics AND (biometrics OR behaviometrics)

Tip 2: Use an asterisk to truncate a word and search for variants of a word. For example, you can search for both ethics and ethical with one search term:


Tip 3: Combine all of these suggestions and analyze the results you get.

example advanced search in the database Computers and Applied Sciences Complete

Search Smarter

Questions to Consider

View the video "Search Smarter" and consider these questions:

  • Explore this research guide. What library databases and journals are relevant to your area of study?
  • Based on your own interests or class assignment, write a basic research question (example: What are some ethical concerns about using biometric authentication methods?).
  • Use your research question above to build a set of search terms, synonyms, and related words that can be used to search for information (example: ethics, biometrics, authentication, technology, etc.).
  • Using these terms, explore one of the databases you discovered in this guide. Try a few searches, using different combinations of terms each time. How does changing your terms alter your list of results? How does having a variety of search terms help you?
  • Using the same set of search terms, compare your database search results with Google and Google Scholar results. Do you see the same articles popping up in the results? Are you able to access the full text of articles through Google or Google Scholar?

"Inform Your Thinking" tutorials created by Oklahoma State University, CC BY-NC 4.0